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Beethoven, Bach, Schubert / Heifetz, Primrose, Piatigorsky

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: beethtrios_2563_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Red Seal pressing of the famous 1961 recording (LSC 2563) has SUBLIME White Hot Stamper sound for one of the works contained herein, the Schubert. It's so rich and sweet you may have a hard time believing it's on a Red Seal LP. The originals we've played over the years sure never sounded like this! Perhaps it's the thin vinyl that contributed to the shockingly good sound. Maybe, just maybe, RCA was right to start pressing thinner records in the '70s. If they can sound this good, we should all be for it.

More of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)


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Beethoven, Bach, Schubert / Trios / Heifetz, Primrose, Piatigorsky

On the Red Seal Label?

  (Item #: beethtrios_reissue) 



So often when we do these shootouts involving original pressings up against their reissue counterparts, it's the reissues that sound rich, warm and tubey, and the originals that sound dry and boxy. If you haven't noticed that in your own critical listening, play this record against any shaded dog that you own and see which one is more Tubey Magical.

If you have your VTA set right, you might be shocked to find it's this one. Don't get us wrong; lots of these later RCA pressings are awful: thin, often with no top end at all. Flat transfers perhaps? Who is to say?

More Living Stereo


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Mendelssohn & Schubert / Symphony No. 4 & Symphony No. 5

Reviewed in 2014

  (Item #: mendesym4_90356_2014) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

The strings are rich, with lovely rosiny texture and virtually no tube smear. Played with zest and the recording is every bit as lively.

The grade on side one could even be better than Two Pluses -- we just don't have enough clean copies to know. Big bass at the end, powerful dynamics too.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Death and the Maiden / Julliard String Quartet

Our Shootout Winner from 2015

  (Item #: schubdeath_2378_2015) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Wow! One of the RAREST and most sought after RCA Shaded Dog pressings (LSC 2378) in BEAUTIFUL CONDITION with SUPERB SOUND (on side two anyway). This Demo Copy has a side two with the kind of richness and sweetness lacking on many of the RCA chamber recordings we've played in the past, and in fact is lacking somewhat on side one of this very record!

Side two, which has the third and fourth movement of Death and the Maiden, is wonderful here, earning a sonic grade of A++. It's very transparent, with real "rosin on the bow" resolution and naturalness.

More Living Stereo


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Schubert / Great C Major Symphony / Krips

Speakers Corner (Reviewed in the '90s)

  (Item #: schubsym9_2045_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B

One of the better Speakers Corner Deccas. We haven't played a copy of this record in years, but back in the day we liked it, so let's call it a "B" with the caveat that the older the review, the more likely we are to have changed our minds. Not sure if we would still agree with what we wrote back in the '90s when this record came out, but here it is anyway.

"Superb sound with a great performance to match. A TOP TOP TITLE in every way. This performance has never been equaled and probably never will be (on any format I can stand to listen to!)"

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Octet / Vienna Octet

Reviewed in 2012

  (Item #: schuboctet_2012) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Very good sound and very quiet vinyl on both sides of this London Whiteback LP! Side one is rich and sweet with nice space and soundstaging, but it could use more texture and top end. Side two fares a bit better in those areas. Both sides play mostly Mint Minus. There may be better sounding copies out there, but I doubt there are many quieter!

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Piano Sonata in B Flat Major / Anda

Our Shootout Winner from 2011

  (Item #: schubpiano_dg_2011) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Super Hot Stamper original Large Tulips DG pressing (with stereo in red on the cover) has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records cannot even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling like you are sitting in a real concert hall, this is the record for you. It's what Golden Age Classical Recordings are known for -- THIS SOUND.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony #9 ("The Great") / Skrowaczewski

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schubsym7_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

This Colorback Maroon Label RFR pressing (SR 90272) has wonderful orchestral sound, with both sides having Hot Stampers. Side two earned the full Two Pluses for its relatively rich strings, a quality one rarely hears on Mercury recordings from this era. The string texture is superb here, so critical to the enjoyment of a large scale romantic symphony such as this.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

An Excellent Copy We Heard in 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson at the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and quite wonderful Ace of Diamonds reissue from 1967. With a Super Hot side two, this copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most copies.

What was most striking about this shootout, our first for the Krips / LSO performance of the work, was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

Our Shootout Winner from 2013

  (Item #: schubsym9_decca_2013) 



A distinguished member of the Better Records Orchestral Music Hall of Fame.

Krips' 1958 recording for Decca (from Kingsway Hall, with the legendary Kenneth Wilkinson behind the board) is here brought to life on a quiet and wonderful World of the Great Classics reissue from 1976. This copy was one of the best we played, showing us depth and transparency that was only hinted at on most pressings, regardless of age.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / Symphony No. 9 "The Great" / Krips / LSO

The Early London Pressings Are Awful

  (Item #: schubsym9_2061_shame) 



Sonic Grade: F

Presenting another member of our Hall of Shame.

What was most striking about this shootout was how poorly the original London Bluebacks fared when going head to head with the best vintage reissues. In fact, they were so obviously inferior I doubt we would have even needed another pressing to know that they would not possibly be competitive.

The two we had were crude, flat, full of harmonic distortion, and both had clearly restricted frequency extremes. I remember liking the Blueback pressings I played ten or twenty years ago.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon / Vienna Octet

Original Versus Reissue

  (Item #: schubtrout_6090_2013) 



This unusual 2-pack combines two very different pressings from very different eras to create a complete performance of The "Trout" Quintet with SUPERB Super Hot Stamper (or better) on both sides. One pressing, the one shown, is from the early '60s; the other is from 1982. How could an imported budget late reissue beat a superb Golden Age pressing on any side you ask? Well, the answer to that question is provided by the records we will send you.
More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon

Live Sound Versus Chesky Sound

  (Item #: schubtrout_6090_wtlf) 



What I hear on this pressing is sound that is absolutely free from any top end boost, much the way live music is. There’s plenty of tape hiss and air; the highs aren’t rolled off, they’re just not boosted the way they normally are in a recording.

A few years back I had a chance to see a piano trio play locally; they even perform a piece by Schubert. The one thing I noticed immediately during their live performance was how smooth and natural the top end was. I was no more than ten feet from the performers in a fairly reverberant room, and yet the sound I heard was the opposite of what passes in some circles for Hi-Fidelity.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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Schubert / The Trout Quintet / Curzon

Speakers Corner - Reviewed in the '90s

  (Item #: schubtrout_speakers_corner) 



Sonic Grade: B?

We were impressed with the Speakers Corner pressing when it came out back in the day. We've come to learn that it is such an exceptional recording that even their second rate remastering of it was still capable of producing a very good sounding record.

One of the ways you can tell how great a recording this is is simply this: as soon as the needle hits the groove you are immediately involved in the music, listening to each of the lines created by the five preternaturally gifted players, all the while marveling at Schubert's compositional skills.

More of the music of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)


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